The Fardle of Facions, by Johannes Boemus

The xi. Chapitre.

Of Turcquie, and of the maners, Lawes, and Ordenaunces of the Turcques.

The lande, whiche now is called Turcquie: hath on Theaste Armenia the more, and ronneth endelong to the Sea of the Cilicians: hauyng on the Northe, the Sea named Euxinus. There are in it many countries conteined. As Lichaonia, whose heade citie is Iconium. Cappadocia with her heade citie, named Cesarea. Isauria, whiche hath for the chief citie Seleucia. Licia, whiche now is called Briquia. Ionia: now called Quisquoun, in the whiche standeth Ephesus. Paphlagonia, and in it Germanopolis. And Leuech: that hath for the heade Citie Trapezus. All this countrie that now is called Turcquie, is not enhabited by one seuerall nacion, but there be in it Turcques, Grekes, Armenians, Saracenes, Iacobites, Nestorians, Iewes and Christians. Whiche liue for the moste parte, acording to the Tradicions and Ordenaunces, that Mahomet the counterfeict Prophete, gaue vnto the Saracenes (a people of Arabie) the yere of our Lorde and Sauiour Iesus Christe. vi. hundred and. xxix. A manne whome I can not telle whether I maye calle an Arabiane or a Persian. For ther be aucthorities of writers on either behaulfe. His father was an idolastre aftre the maner of the heathen. His mother an Ismalite leaning to the lawe of the Iewes. And whilest in his childehode, his mother taught him aftre one sorte, and his father aftre another: thei printed in hym suche a doubtfull belief, that when he came to age he cleaued to neither. But as a manne of subtyle and guilefull witte, aftre what time he had bene longe conuersaunte amongest menne of the Christian religion: he draue a drifte, deuised out of both lawes (the olde and the newe) how he mighte notably enfecte the worlde.

He said the Iewes did wickedly to denie Christe to be borne of the virgine Mary, seinge the prophetes (men of great holinesse, and enspired with the holy ghost) had foreshewed the same, and warned men of many yeres passed to looke for him. Contrariwyse he said to the Christians thei ware very fonde to beleue that Iesus, so dierly beloued of God, and borne of a virgine, would suffre those vilanies and tormentes of the Iewes.

Martinus Segonius Nouomontanus, in his booke of the Sepulchre of Christe our king, writeth that the Turkes, and Saracenes by an auncient opinion receiued from Machomet: do laughe Christian menne to skorne, that seke thether with so greate reuerence. Sayeng that Christ the prophet of all prophetes endewed with the spirite of God, and voyde of all earthly corruption: had there no sepulchre in very diede, for that he being a spirituall body conceiued by the breathe of the holy ghost coulde not suffre, but should come againe to be iudge of the Gentiles: This saieth Segonius, and many other thinges sounding to like effecte: whiche the Mahometeines are wonte to throwe out against the Christians, bothe foolisshely and wickedly. When this counterfeicte prophet had saused his secte with these wicked opinions: he gaue them his lawe, and sorte of religion. Against the whiche lesse any man of righte iudgemente should aftrewarde write or dispute (as against a pestilent and filthie perswasion) he wrote a lawe in his Alcorane that it shoulde be deathe to as many as should reason or dispute vppon it. Wherby he euidentlie declared, that ther was nothing godly or goodly therin. For why shoulde he elles haue so raked it vp in the ashes, and forbidden it to be examined: so that the people coulde neuer come to knowledge what maner of thinge it is that thei beleue in. In the giuing of his lawe, he vsed muche the counselle and helpe of the moncke Sergius: of the wicked secte of the Nestorianes. And to the ende it might please the more vniuersally: he patched it vp together with peces of all maner of sectes. He thoughte it good to sette out Christe with the beste, affirminge that he was a manne excelling in all holinesse and vertue. Yea he extolled him to a more heigth then was appliable to the nature of man, calling him the woorde, the spirite, the soule of GOD, borne out of a virgines wombe, whome he also with many wondrefull praises magnified. He confirmed with his consente, the miracles, and story of the gospel, as farre as it varieth not from his Alcorane.

The Godspelles said he ware corrupte by the disciples of the Apostles. And ther fore it behoued his Alcorane to be made, for to correcte and amende them. Thus fauning into fauour with the Christians, he would haue bene christened of Sergius. Then to procure, and moue other also to fauour his procedinges: he denied with the Sabellians the Trinitie. With the Manicheis he made two goddes. With Eunomius, he denied that the father and the sonne ware equal. With Macedonius he said that the holy ghoste was a creature, or substaunce created. With the Nicholaites He allowed the hauinge of many wiues at ones. He allowed also the olde testament. Althoughe sayd he, it were in certain places faultie. And these fondenesses did he beswiete with a wondrefull lure of the thinges that menne in this lyfe mooste desire. Lettinge louse to as many as helde of him, the bridle of al lechery and luste. And for that cause doth this contagious euil sprede it self so wide into innumerable contries. So that if a man at this day compare the nombre of them that are by him seduced, with the other that remaine in the doctrine of faithe: he shal easeli perceiue the great oddes, ware it but herin. That wher Europe alone, (and not al that by a great deale) standeth in the belief of Christe: almoste all Asie, and Aphrique, yea and a greate pece of Europe standeth in the Turkisshe belief of Mahomete.

The Saracenes that firste receiued the brainesicke wickednesse of this countrefeicte prophete, dwelte in that parte of Arabia, that is called Petrea: wher it entrecommuneth with Iewry on the one side, and with Egipt on the other. So named of Serracum, a place nere vnto the Nabatheis, or rather as thei woulde haue it them selues, of Sara, Abrahams wife.

Wherupon thei yet sticke faste in this opinion, that thei onely of al men are the lawfull heires of Goddes beheste. Thei gaue themselues to tilthe, to cattle, and to the warres. But the greater parte to the warres. And therefore at what time they ware hired of Heraclius in the warres againste the Persians: when he had gotten the victory, and thei perceiued them selues to be defrauded by him: kindled with the angre of the villanye thei had done vnto them, by the counsell and persuasion of Mahomet (who tooke vppon him to be their captaine) thei forsoke Heraclius. And going into Siria, enuaded Damasco. Wher when thei had encreased them selues bothe in nombre, and purueiaunce necessary for them, thei entred into Egipte. And subdued firste that: then Persis, then Antioche, and then Ierusalem. Thus their power and fame daily so encreaced, and grewe: that men muche feared, that any thing afterwarde shoulde be able to resiste them. In the meane season, the Turkes: a ferce and a cruell people, of the nacion of the Scithiens, driuen out by their neighbours fro the mountaines called Caspij, came downe by the passage of the mounte Caucasus, firste into Asia the lesse, then into Armenia, Media, and Persis. And by stronge hande wanne all as they came. Against these the Saracenes went forth as to defende the bordres of their gouernaunce. But forasmuche as this newecome power was to harde for them, the Saracenes within a while felle into such despaire of their state: that vppon condicion that the other would receiue Mahometes belief: thei ware content thei shold reigne felowlike together with them, in Persis. Wherto when thei had agreed, it was harde to saye whether of the peoples had receiued the greater dammage. The Saracenes, in yelding to them the haulf right of their kingdome: or the other, whiche for coueteousnes thereof yelded them selues to so rancke, and wicked a poyson of all vertue and godlynes.

One bonde of belief then so coupled and ioyned them: that for a space it made to them no matier whether ye called them all by one name, Saracenes, or Turkes. But nowe as ye se, the name of the Turkes hath gotten the bettre hande, and the other is out of remembraunce. This people vseth moe kindes of horsemen then one. Thei haue Thimarceni, that is to saye Pencioners, aboute a foure skore thousande. These haue giuen vnto them by the kinge, houses, villages, and Castles euery one as he deserueth, in the steade of his wages or pencion. And thei attende vppon the Sensacho, or capitaine of that quarter, wher their possessions lye. At this daye the Turkes are deuided into two armies: the one for Asie, and the other for Europe. And either hath a chiefteine, at whose leading thei are. These chiefteines in their tongue be called Bassay. Ther are also another sorte muche lyke to our aduenturers, that serue withoute wages, called Aconizie. And these euer are spoiling afore when the campe is yet behynde. The fiueth parte of their butine is due vnto the king. And these are aboute a fourty thousande. Their thirde sorte of horsemen is deuided into Charippos Spahiglauos, and Soluphtaros. The beste, and worthiest of these, are the Charippie: of an honourable ordre of knighthode, as it ware for the kinges body. And those be euer about him, to the nombre of eyghte hundred, all Scythians and Persians, and elles of none other kinde of menne. These, when niede is, being in the sighte of the kinge: fight notably, and do wondrefull feates on horsebacke. Spahy, and Soluphtary be those whiche haue bene at the kinges bringing vp from their childehode, to serue his filthy abhominacion. And when thei are come to mannes state, thei marye at the kynges pleasure: And be enriched both with dowery of their wife, and a stipende. These for the moste parte serue for embassadours, deputies, lieutenauntes and suche other dignities, and are nexte vnto the kinge on bothe sides of him, when he goeth any whether as a garde. Thei are in nombre a thousande and thre hundred.

Among the footemen are three sortes, Ianizarie, these be chosen all the Empire ouer, of xii. yeres of age, or there aboute, by certein that haue Commission for the purpose: And are for a space enstructed in the feactes of warre, in commune schooles. And then aftrewarde are thei chosen into souldie, and haue giuen them a shorter garmente, and a white cappe, with a tarfe tourned vpwarde. Their weapon is a Targette, a Curtilase, and a Bowe. Their office is to fortifie the campe, and to assaulte cities. Thei are in nombre aboue twentie thousande.

The seconde sorte are called Asappi, and are all footemen of light harnesse, weaponed with swearde, target, and a kinde of long Iauelines, wherewith thei slea the horses of their enemies, in the skirmishe and battaile. These, to be knowen fro the Ianizaries, weare redde cappes. These are appoincted in nombre, accordyng as the case shall require. But thei are euer at the leaste fouretie thousande. When the warres are finished, for the whiche thei ware hired: these are no longer in wages. Tharmie roialle hath about two hundred thousande armed menne, beside a greate rable of footemen aduenturers, that take no wages, and suche other as be called out of Garrisons. And amonge these, Pioners and Cookes, Carpenters, Armourers, and suche other as thei must niedes haue to make the waye, wher the place is combresome: to dresse victualles, to amende harnesse, to make bredges ouer floudes, to trenche aboute their ennemies, to plante battries, make Ladders, and suche other thinges necessarie for the siege. Ther foloweth the armie also, sondrye sortes of money Masters: some for lone, some for exchaunge, some to buy thinges. And sondrie sortes of occupiers, such as be thought nedeful in such cases.

But there is nothing in all that nacion more to be marueiled at, then their spiedinesse in doeyng of thinges: their constantnes in perilles, and their obedience and precise obseruinge of all commaundementes. For the least fault, of goeth the heade. Thei passe ouer raginge floudes, mounteignes and rockes: roughes and plaines, thicke and thinne, if thei be commaunded. Not hauing respecte to their lyfe, but to their rulers. No men maie awaie with more watche, no men with more hongre. Among them is no mutinyng, no vproures, no sturres. In theyr fyght thei vse no cries, not shoutes, but a certeine fiercenes of brayeng. Thei kepe suche precise scilence in the night, through out their campe: that thei wil rather suffre such as they haue taken prisoners, to run their waie, then to make any sturre. Of all the peoples at this daie, thei onely doe warre, acording to the ordre of armies. So that no manne niedeth to meruayle how it cometh that no people this two hundred yeare and aboue, haue had like successe vnto them. Yea, it may truely be sayd, that excepte it be by some plague or murreyn, or discorde among them selues, they can not be subdued. The apparail that the souldiours do vse, is most comely and honeste. In their sadles and bridles, there is neither curiositie, ne yet superfluitie. No man emong them weareth his Armour, but when niede is to fight. They carry their harnesse behynde theim, at their backes. They vse neither banner, standerde, ne flaggue: but certein Iauelins that haue streamynge out fro the toppe, diuers coloured thriedes, by the whiche euery hande knoweth his capiteine. Thei vse a dromme and a fiphe, to assemble their Bandes, and to sturre them to the batteile. When the batteile is done, all the armie is presented to the Regestour (whiche is some one of the nobles) bothe that it maye bee knowen who is slain, and what nombre: and that newe may be entred in their places. In all assemblies and mietinges, feaste, or other: thei praie for their souldiours, and menne of warre. But specially aboue all other, for those that haue suffred death for the commune quarelle of their countrie: calling them happie, fortunate, and blessed, that thei yelded not vp their liues at home, amidde the lamentacions and bewailynges, of their wiues and children, but loste them, abrode, amonge the shoutes of their enemies, and the ratling of the Harneis, and Launces. The victories of their forefathers and eldres, thei put into Balade, and sing theim with greate honour and praises: for that thei thinke the courages of the souldiours and menne of warre be muche quickened, and kindled thereby.

Their dwelling houses are communely of timbre and claie, very fewe of stone: for of them are the noble mennes houses their temples, and Batthes. And yet are there amonge the communes, men able of them self alone, to set furthe an whole armie, furnisshed at all poinctes. But because thei are naturally giuen to sparing and to abhorre all sumptuousenesse, embrasing a lowe and simple state: thei wel beare this voluntarie pouertie, and rude homelinesse. For this cause also, doe thei not set by any kinde of Painters Imagerie. As for the other imagerie of coruen grauen, or molten worke, thei do so hate and abhorre: that they call vs Christians for delighting so muche in them, verie Idolatours and Image worshippers. And do not onely so calle vs, but wil earnestly argue, that we are so in dede. Thei vse no Seales to their Lettres, of what sorte so euer thei be, the kynges or other. But they credite the matier, assone as thei haue red the superscription, or heard the name of the sender. Thei occupie no belles, nor suffre not the Christianes that dwelle among them to do. Thei game not for money, or any valewe elles. And if it fortune that any manne be founde to do, in many sundrie wise thei reuile him, and baite him with shames and reproche.

No man among them, of what degree or dignitie so euer he be: requireth forme chaire, stoole, or other kinde of seate to sitte vpon. But foldinge bothe him selfe and his clothes, aftre a mooste comely sorte: rucketh downe vpon the grounde, not muche vnlike to the sitting of our gentlewomen ofte times here in Englande. The table wherupon thei eate, is for the mooste parte of a Bullockes hide, or a Hartes skinne. Not dressed, but in the heare, facioned rounde, beyng a fowre or fiue spanne ouer, and so set rounde about on the bordre, or verge, with ringlettes of iron: that putting a couple of stringes throughe the ringes, it maye be drawen together, and shutte and opened like a purse. House, or Churche, or any other place wher they entende to sitte, no man entreth with his shoes on. For it is compted a very dishonest and vnmanerly facion, to sitte shoed. Wherfore they vse a maner of slippe shooes, that may lightly be putte of and on. The place where thei sitte, either at home, or at Churche, is in some place matted, and in some place ouerspred with course woollen Carpette. And some places also, either for the lowenes, moistenes, or vncleanelinesse therof are plancked with boorde.

The garmentes aswell of the menne, as the women, are large and longe, and open afore: that thei may the more honestlie and couertly hide all, when nature craveth to be eased. And in doeyng those niedes, thei take greate hiede, that their face be not into the Southe, as it is when thei praye. As also that thei discouer no priuie parte, that any myghte fortune to see. The menne make water sitting, aswell as the women. For if a man amonges them, ware sene to make water standing: he should be iudged of all, a foole, or an hertique.

From wine (as from a prouoker of al sinne and vnclennesse) thei absteine by their lawe. And yet eate they the Grapes, and drincke muste. Thei also forbeare to eate any thinge, that commeth of the Hogge: or any thinge elles that dieth of sickenesse, or by aduenture vnslain. But any other thinges, being mannes meate, thei refuse not to eate. Thei worshippe the Fridaie, laieng all labour and businesse aparte, with as greate solempnitie and deuocion, as we doe the Sondaie, or as the Iewes doe the Sabboth daie. In euery citie there is one principall or head Churche. In the whiche vppon the Fridaie at aftre Noone, thei all assemble together. And aftre solempne praiers, heare a sermone. Thei acknowledge one God, to whome thei make no like, nor equalle: and Mahomet to be his trustie and welbeloued, Prophete. All the Saracenes are bound to praie fiue times on the daie, with their faces toward the South. And before thei so do, to the ende thei maie be cleane from all filthe of bodie: to wasshe them selues toppe and taile, heade, eares, eyes, nose, mouthe, armes, handes, bealy, colions, legges and fiete. Specially, if he haue bene late at the soile with a woman or stouped on his taile to vnburden his bealie. Except he haue some lette of iournie, or sickenesse. But if he lacke watre to doe this withall (as that sieldome or neuer can happen, for that thei haue in all cities, bathes, ordenarie for the purpose) thei supplie the defaulte with the moulde of fresshe cleane earthe, wherewith thei rubbe ouer their whole bodies. Who is so polluted in any maner wise: suffreth no man before this clensing, to speake with hym, or to see him, if it be possible. Euery yere for the space of fiue wiekes continually together, thei faste al daie as presicely as is possible, bothe from meate, drincke and women. But aftre the sonne is ones doune, till the next daie he riseth, thei neither spare eatyng ne drinckyng, ne pressyng of pappes. In thende of their lente, and againe the sixtieth daie aftre: Thei kiepe their passeouer or Easter, in remembraunce of the Rambe shewed vnto Abraham, to be Sacrificed in the steade of his sonne, and of a certaine nighte in the whiche thei doe beleue that the Alcorane was giuen them from heauen.

Euery yere ones, the Saracenes also are bound of duetie to visite the house of God, in the citie of Mecha: bothe to acknowledge their homage, and to yelde vnto Mohomete his yerely honour at his Sepulchre there. The Saracenes compelle no man to forsake his opinion or belief: ne yet labour so to perswade any countrie to do. Although their Alcorane commaunde theim to treade doune and destroie all menne of the contrary beliue yea them and their prophetes. But through this sufferaunce, ther are to be founde enhabiting in Turkie, peoples of all opinions, and beleue: euery man vsinge suche kinde of worshippe to his God, as to his religion apperteineth. Their priestes do not muche diffre from the commune people, nor yet their churches from their dwelling houses. Yf thei knowe the Alcorane, and the praiours and ceremonies or their lawe, it suffiseth. Thei are neither giuen to contemplacion ne yet schole study. For why thei are not occupied with any churche seruice or cure of soules. Sacramentes haue thei none, nor reliques, nor halowinges of foutes, Aulters, and other necessaries. But prouidinge for their wiues, their children, and householdes, thei occupie their time in husbondrie, marchaundise, huntinge, or some other meane to get the penie, and mainteyne their liuing, euen as the temporall men doe. Ther is nothing forbidden them, nothing is for them vnlawfull. Thei be neither burdoned with tillage, ne bondage. Thei be muche honoured of al men, for that thei are skilfull in the ceremonies of the lawe, teache them to other, and be the gouernours of the churches.

They haue many schooles and large, In the which great nombres are taught the lawes there giuen by kinges, for the ciuile gouernance and defence of the Realme. Of the whiche some are afterwarde sette fourth to be men of the churche, and some to be temporalle officers. Their spiritualtie is deuided into many and sondry sortes of religions. Of the whiche some liue in the wooddes and wyldernes shonnyng all companye. Some kiepe open hospitalitie in cities, and yet liue by almose them selues. These if they lacke meate to refreshe the niedy straunger and pelligrine, yet at the least waie they giue him herbour and lodgyng. Other, roumyng the cities vp and downe and caryeng alway in bottles faire watre and fresshe, if any man be disposed to drinke, vnasked they willingly proffre it him, and refuse not to take, if he for their gentlenesse offre aught vnto them agayn. Otherwise they craue nothyng, but in al their woordes, gesture, behauour, and diedes: shewe theim selues aungelles raither then menne. And euery one of these hath one knowledge or other, of difference from the reaste. The Saracenes or Turkes are very precise executours of Iustice. Who so committeth bloudshed: hath in like sorte his owne shedde againe. Taken in adultery, both parties are streight without mercy stoned to deathe. Thei haue also a punisshement for fornication, whiche is to the manne taken with the diede, foure score ierkes or lasshes with a skourge. A thief for the first and the seconde time, escapeth with so many stripes. But at the thirde time, hathe his hande cut of, and at the fourthe his foote. He that endamageth any manne: as the losse or hinderaunce shalbe valewed, so muste he of force recompence. In claiming of goodes, or possessions, the claimer muste proue by witnesse that the thing claimed is his: and the denier shalbe tried by his othe. Witnesses they admitte none, but persones of knowen honestie, and suche as mighte be belieued withoute an othe. Thei haue also certeine spiefaultes ordinarilye appoincted (muche like to our Sompnours) that spie in euery shiere for suche as be necligent, and let slippe suche oraisons and seruice as thei be bounde to. Those if thei fortune to finde them: do thei punishe aftre this maner. Thei hange a borde about their neckes, with a great many of foxe tailes, and togginge them vp and downe the stretes: all ouer the citie, thei neuer lette them go vntyll they haue compounded by the purse. And in this also nothing vnlike to our Sompnours. It is lawfull for no manne, beinge come to mannes state, to liue vnmaried. It is compted amonge them as lawfull to haue iiii. wiues, as it is amonge vs to haue one. Marie what soeuer is aboue this nombre (as thei may if thei liste, and be able to kepe them, no degree excepted, but mother and sister, marie a hundred) thei are not iudged so lawfulle. The children that thei haue bothe by the one, and the other haue equalle porcion in the fathers enheritaunce. Sauing that ii. women children are compted in porcion but for one man childe. Thei haue not ii. of their wiues together in one house, ne yet in one citie. For the busines, and disquietinges that might happen therby, but euery wife in a seuerall towne. The housebandes haue libertye to put them away thrise, and thrise to take them againe. But yet when he hath ones putte her awaie, if any manne haue taken her, and she lust to abide with hym, she maie.

Their women are moste honestlie appareiled. And vpon their heades doe vse a certeine attire, not muche vnlike the veluet bonette of olde Englande: wherof the one lappe so hangeth vppon whiche side semeth her good: that when she is disposed to go out of the doores, or to come amongest menne within the house, she maie hide therwith by and by her whole face, sauyng her eyes.

The Saracenes woman, neuer dare shewe her self wher there is a company of menne. To go to the marchate to occupy byeng or sellyng in any wise: is not syttyng for their women. In the head church they haue a place farre a part fro the men: so close that no manne canne looke into them. Into the which notwithstandyng it is not laufull for euery mans wyfe to entre: but for the nobilitie onely. Ne yet for them neyther, but on Friday, at the onely houre of noone praier: whiche as I haue aforesayd, is kept amonge them high and holy.

To see a man and a woman talke together ther, in the open strete or abrode: is so straunge, and so vnwonte a thing, that in a whole yere it skante happeneth ones. For a man to sitte with his wyfe in open sighte, or to ride with any woman behinde him: amongest them ware a wondre. Maried couples neuer dally together in the sighte of other, nor chide or falle out. But the menne beare alwaies towarde the women a manly discrete sobrenes, and the women, towarde them a demure womanlie reuerence. Greate menne, that cannot alwaie haue their wiues in their owne eye, appoincte redgelinges, or guelte menne to awaite vppon them. Whiche waite them in diede so narrowlye, that it ware impossible for any man beside the housebande to speake with the wyfe vnsene: or the wyfe by any stealthe to false her trouth and honestie. Finally the Saracenes do so full and whole beleue their Mahomete and his lawes: that thei doubte no whitte, but the kepers of them shall haue euerlasting blessednesse. That is to saye, after their opinion, a paradise of pleasure, a gardein plotte of delighte, full of swiete rindles of Christalline watre. In whose botomes the grauelle, popleth like glisteryng golde. The ayre alwaie so attempre and pure, that nothyng can be more swiete, more pleasaunte, nor healthsome. The grounde couered and garnisshed with natures Tapesserie, neither lacking any colour that pleasaunte is to the eye, or sauour that maie delight the nose. Birdes syngyng with suche armonie, as neuer mortalle eare heard. Briefly flowyng in all pleasure that any harte can aftre thincke. Disshes for the mouthe, of all deinties. All maner of Silkes, Veluettes, Purples, Skarlettes, and other precious apparelle. Godly younge damoselles, with graie rowlyng eyes, and skinne as white as Whales bone, softe as the Silke, and breathed like the Rose, and all at their becke. Vesselles of siluer and golde. Angelles for their Butlers that shall bryng theim Milke in Goblettes of golde, and redde wine in siluer. But contrariewise, thei threaten vnto the breakers of them, helle, and euerlastyng destruccion. This thei also beleue, that be a manne wrapped in neuer so many synnes, yet if at his death, he beleue vpon God, and Machomete, he shalbe saued.

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Last updated Friday, March 7, 2014 at 20:27